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   Issue 8 of Wollemi Watch
>> Newsflash: Global Launch in October
>> Behind the Scenes: David Noble, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Ranger
>> Wollemi Pine Steals the Show in the UK
>> The Wollemi Pine Promotes National Tree Day
>> Fact File: Wollemi Pine Postage Stamps
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Did you know?
The Wollemi Pine will be available for sale in 2005/6. This date has been set to allow sufficient time for horticulturalists and scientists to research and cultivate the plant so as to secure the ongoing survival and conservation of this rare and threatened species.

As the 2005/6 public release of the Wollemi Pine in Australia and internationally is expected to generate widespread demand.
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Welcome to the eighth edition of the Wollemi Watch, a quarterly newsletter for Wollemi Pine enthusiasts everywhere.

We are just three months away from the international release of the first Wollemi Pines. Preparations are underway for the launch of the first generation trees in October; with the smaller pot plant sized Wollemi Pines on track to be available in April 2006.

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Wollemi Pine Global Launch in October

Newsflash: Wollemi Pine Global Launch in October

The worldwide launch of the Wollemi Pine will be an occasion befitting Australia's newest icon; a public exhibition at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, culminating in an international Sotheby's auction of the Collectors Edition trees from 14 - 23 October. Several preview events showcasing the Wollemi Pine will take place in London, Frankfurt and Tokyo in the lead up to the Sydney based auction on October 23.

At Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens, a grove of up to 100 Wollemi Pines will be installed as part of a special exhibition designed to recreate the secret location where the Pines were first discovered. Royal Botanic Gardens staff and volunteers will be on hand to interpret the enchantment of the recreated Wollemi Pine forest.

The exhibition will culminate in a Sotheby's auction of the first generation Pines grown from cuttings taken from the wild population. Each Collectors Edition tree can be traced back to its parent tree in the wild. There will be less than 300 trees available as part of 148 lots for auction which will range from single trees to an avenue of 20 trees from the same parent. Six groves of five trees each will be dedicated to conservation organisations in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Germany and Japan.

The Collectors Edition trees will be up to six years of age and up to three metres tall, and will come with their own authentication certificate and care instructions. Pre registration for the auction and bidding will commence with the release of the Sotheby's Wollemi Pine auction catalogue in September.

The Collectors Edition auction will raise funds for conservation of the Wollemi Pine and other rare and threatened plant species.

The Wollemi Pine can be exported to most countries. However, in the USA, only plants of less than 18 inches (50cm) can be imported, thereby precluding any Collectors Edition plants. However there will be smaller Wollemi Pine pot plants available in the USA at the time of the general release in April 2006.

As members of the Wollemi Pine Conservation Club, we will contact you directly in September with further details on the auction of the Collectors Edition and information on how to order your Wollemi Pine pot plants for the general release in April 2006.

Joining the Wollemi Pine Conservation Club registers your interest in purchasing a Wollemi Pine when they are released from October 2005.
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Behind the Scenes with David Noble

Behind the Scenes with David Noble

David Noble was on one of his regular hiking expeditions in the Wollemi National Park when he descended into a canyon and noticed a very unusual looking tree, later to be named the Wollemi Pine. Wollemi Watch caught up with David, 11 years since his discovery of the tree that outlived the dinosaurs.

You are now a celebrity, at least in the plant world, what is it like to have one of the world's oldest and rarest plants named after you?

A great honour and indeed a privilege to be recognized for the discovery. Thankfully I had a name that suited the stature of the Wollemi Pine.

How would you describe the day that you came across this amazing discovery?

Just a typical day canyoning with my mates, Tony Zimmerman and Michael Castelyn, until we descended into a very difficult canyon to find an unusual sight.

What was it about the Wollemi Pine that was different and made you take that crucial piece of foliage from the forest floor?

What stood out to me were the branches and leaves and the strange looking bark. The leaves looked fern-like but the bark was different, and the tree was so tall.

Do you find yourself looking more carefully at the bush now?

Yes, it certainly shows that there are still things to discover.

Has the discovery changed your life at all? How?

I don't think it's had a great change in my life, but people do now say "aren't you the guy who discovered the Wollemi Pine?"

Will you be keeping your own Wollemi Pine at home or in the garden?

When they become available of course I would like a Wollemi Pine in my garden.

Just how much of the Wollemi National Park do you think you've explored?

Less than 1%. The park certainly has many more places for me to explore.

What are your hobbies/interests?

Canyoning and my interests in bushwalking led me to the Pine. My other interests are caving, white water kayaking, and mountain bike riding.

Stay tuned to hear more about people like David who are behind the scenes in the conservation of the Wollemi Pine.
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Wollemi Pine Steals the Show in the UK

Wollemi Pine Steals the Show in the UK

The Wollemi Pine made its first public appearance in the UK in May with a planting at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew followed by a display at the world famous Chelsea Flower Show.

To much fanfare, Sir David Attenborough planted a specimen at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He said; "How marvelous and exciting that we should have discovered this rare survivor from such an ancient past." Actor Kenneth Branagh also planted a Pine at Kew's sister garden, Wakehurst Place in Sussex.

The Wollemi Pine was the star attraction at the Chelsea Flower Show. Visitors to the Show were drawn to the Kew Gardens `Message in a Bottle' stand to see the 'living fossil' showcased alongside other rare and threatened plants species.

The Message in a Bottle theme represented a cry for help from endangered plants around the world - both from oceanic islands and from isolated continents. The display raised awareness of the role that gardeners and plant scientists can play in conserving the world's threatened plants.

The Kew stand was a favourite with the media with a special segment on the Wollemi Pine being aired on BBC TV with a live broadcast from the stand on opening night. Judges were equally impressed with the stand awarding it a Silver Gilt award in its category of "Lifelong Learning in the Garden"

For more on the Wollemi Pine at Kew link
For more on the Wollemi Pine at Chelsea link
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Wollemi Pine Promotes National Tree Day

The Wollemi Pine Promotes National Tree Day

A regional NSW school, Canowindra Public School, will soon be the proud home of one of the first Wollemi Pines after winning a national poetry competition designed to drive Australian schools to sign up to National Tree Day.

The competition, proudly supported by Channel Nine and Planet Ark, attracted over 600 entries entitled "Why my school would like to plant a Wollemi Pine". Promoted nationally on Channel Nine prime time in May, the competition raised awareness of the tenth annual National Tree Day.

Held on Sunday July 31st , National Tree Day involved thousands of volunteers getting their hands dirty by planting trees to 'Green Up Australia' and regenerate native flora particularly in urban areas. Last year more than 250,000 volunteers planted over a million trees at 3,200 sites across Australia.

The organizers of the event, Planet Ark, said; "Trees help to filter water, combat salinity, clean the air and increase flows into water catchments. They also provide food and shelter to Australia's unique wildlife and are an integral part of our country's biodiversity."

"Tree Day plays an important role in educating children about the importance of planting trees. By having their own Wollemi Pine, the kids from Canowindra Public School will be able to see first hand an international conservation program" says Stephen Duckitt of Planet Ark.

A ceremonial planting will take place at the school in late October after the Wollemi Pines are released to the public for the first time. The school will receive a Pine that will be up to 2m tall and 5 years old and is a direct descendent of The Bill Tree, the oldest and tallest Wollemi Pine found in the wild.

The Winning Poem by Canowindra Public School:

The Wollemi Pine
In the deep, dark canyon David saw,
A living, breathing dinosaur.
With skin like bubbling chocolate and wings like a Christmas tree,
This Noble man found 76, wild and living free.

On the 10th of September 1994,
History was made and much much more.
Something as old as time itself, was in an awful plight.
We could not let her die, not without a fight.

Metal birds collected the seed,
So that new plants they could breed.
A majestic tree for Canowindra Public to treasure
Forever, a Wollemi Pine would give our school great pleasure.

For more information on National Tree Day, call the Tree Day Hotline on 1300 88 5000 or visit the Tree Day site. link
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Fact File: Wollemi Pine Postage Stamps

Fact File: Wollemi Pine Postage Stamps

The Wollemi Pine has been featured as part of a special stamp series on Australian Native Trees released this month.

The Australian native trees stamp issue was timed to coincide with the 22nd World Congress of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations held in Brisbane and attended by 2000 delegates. The conference was opened with a Wollemi Pine planting at Brisbane's popular Southbank Parklands - the only Pine on display in Queensland.

In addition to the Wollemi Pine, the new stamp series features Australia's most notable native trees including the Snow Gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora), Boab (Adansonia gregorii), Karri (Eucalyptus diversicolor) and Moreton Bay Fig (Ficus macrophylla).

Read the Australia Post article on this stamp series link

Want to experience the Wollemi Wilderness? Download your own Wollemi wallpaper >> Click Here
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Photos: Jason Loucas, Jaime Plaza, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and Planet Ark
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